72 Hours: Ezra Furman and the art of crabbiness, Dessa, Fleet Foxes and more
A look at some of the weekend's top concerts, starting TONIGHT.
Ezra Furman & the Harpoons @ the Satellite. There's a glorious moment of pure frustration near the end of "Mysterious Power," the latest from Ezra Furman & the Harpoons. "Too Strung Out" is less than two minutes, and it's faster and cruder than much of the album, but it's the feeling of annoyance at its most distilled. "I'm not like the guy you see in most bands," Furman wails over an outburst of scrappy, punk rock guitars, and then declares he doesn't want any fans, he doesn't want a girlfriend, he doesn't want to bother looking pretty and he is just plain "done." Consider it crabbiness for the sake of crabbiness, but there's plenty more colorful sides to Furman's personality. Throughout "Mysterious Power," one will find vampires in love, magical flowers and false threats of self-destructing. Arrangements are bright, the hooks are a-plenty and Furman is comfortable as a balladeer, a bluesman and a rioter. The Satellite, 1717 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles. Friday. $10. -- Todd Martens
Calexico @ the Echoplex. The long-running band led by Joey Burns and John Convertino has been delivering various forms of noirish Southwestern rock for six albums now, incorporating woozy mariachi horns, Cuban son and Portuguese fado into its uniquely Tucson-born mix. Here the band presents what should be a raucous celebration of Cinco de Mayo joined by longtime cohorts Mariachi Luz de Luna and Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta. The Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles, Thursday (tonight). $20. -- Chris Barton
Dessa @ the Roxy. The author, rapper and singer returns to L.A. with members of Minneapolis rap collective Doomtree, yet this is her first SoCal headlining gig. It definitely shouldn't be her last, as Dessa fronts a hip-hop group as if she's leading a jazz combo. Her debut, "A Badly Broken Code," remains an undiscovered gem. Lyrics unfold with spoken-word thoughtfulness, and beats surround low-key melodies that reference neo-soul. She's been compared to Lauryn Hill, and Dessa will shoot that down if one were to ask her about it, but in spirit and adventurousness, the line is there. The Roxy, 9009 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. Friday. $12. -- TM
Fleet Foxes @ the Hollywood Palladium. Armed with rich harmonies directly from the CSN&Y playbook, this Seattle-based indie-folk group became critical darlings with its 2008 self-titled debut and an equally stirring EP. Now the follow-up is at hand, in which the group offers more of the same rustic yet expansive takes on woodsy folk, but with a bit more of a groove on "Helplessness Blues." Hollywood Palladium, 6215 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. Saturday. $35. The show is sold out, but secondary market tickets can be had for around $80. -- CB
The Submarines @ the Troubadour. The husband-and-wife musical tandem add a little scruff to their glossy and refined electro-pop on their third album, "Love Notes/Letter Bombs." To be sure, the band's technological sheen and handclap beats are still in place, but an injection of live drumming and studio experimentation provides more room for the expectedly sweet melodies to breathe. On the whole, then, "Love Notes/Letter Bombs" presents a fuller, more assured Submarines sound. New songs, such as "Shoelaces" and "Tigers," flash a more aggressive guitar in parts, but effects and flourishes come in and out, as the act uses the studio as something of a shading tool. Additionally, a newfound kick comes in part from the use of Spoon drummer Jim Eno, who supplied rhythmic help on a number of tracks. The Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd. Saturday. $12-$14. -- TM
Image: Ezra Furman & the Harpoons